Danish family history with Hugh


How to find your Danish roots,
or your cousins abroad


Hugh Watkins

photo - Manja Kristoffersen

Some links are in Danish !

How do you begin?

  1. Buy a bound notebook - I use A4 size. Write down everything you know.
    Bits of paper get lost.
  2.  Ask your oldest relations what they know, and write it down.
    Huskeliste- check list in Danish for interviews and memoires.
    Go through the family photos, and write on the back,
    who and where and when in pencil.
  3. Get organised, paper anetavler are good, 
    I use Family Tree Maker 11, or slægtsforskningsprogrammer,
    spreadsheets, databases and WinKip.
  4. Record all your sources. you will need to refer to them later.
  5. Seek international help - the locals know their own archives.

Finding the link:
Your ancestors crossed the sea by boat,
either directly from (say) Copenhagen to New York
or indirectly for example by train and ferry to Hamburg and on to New York
or boat to England and train to Liverpool and boat via Ireland to New York.
or to Australia or whatever.

Is there a family bible?
Or an old passport, a birth certificate, old letters?
photographs, sometimes with military uniforms,
which Danish experts may indentify.

Scan the data and put it on the web
and ask for help to read the old Danish handwriting
by posting the URL in this
or this one in Danish but with some english postings too

In the United States, you must know the state
your ancestor was born,
christened, married or died.
In DENMARK the parish, or sogn, is essential.

Olive Tree Genealogy - Search free genealogy databases for your ancestors
Search for your family origins and immigrant ancestors!
Google Search: site:olivetreegenealogy.com Ships' Passenger Lists about 2,530
Google Search: "Ships Passenger Lists" about 12,400
for New York "passenger lists" "Castle Garden" - Google Search
Ellis Island, Castle Garden, Barge Office | Immigrant Processing Centers for New York

Why did they leave?:
Poverty, historical changes in boundaries, and many Danish men did not want
to be Prussian conscript soldiers. Religious conversion or a wish to get married
or for economic betterment. An emotional decision, running away or running to . . .

Help with genealogy in Britain and in USA on usenet (mostly unmoderated)

There are many Ancestry message boards with Danish surnames also in US spellings



U.S. States
United Kingdom and Ireland
browse all localities

browse all topics

A complete index to RootsWeb's
27,891 genealogy mailing lists!

Some extracts - click on URL for lots more

The FamilySearch Internet Genealogy Service web site
More immigrants have come to Utah from the British Isles than from any other
area. They have become so fundamental a part of the state that their story is
involved in most aspects of its history. British trappers and traders, along
with their Canadian and American counterparts, helped open the West for
settlement. Charles McKay saw the Great Salt Lake as early as 1825 while
exploring northern Utah.

Local organizations, particularly those of Scottish and Welsh immigrants,
fostered the cultural heritage of their native lands. The Cambrian Society,
organized in 1895, sponsored Eisteddfod festivals, helping maintain the Welsh
language and culture.

In 1980, 3.2 percent of Utah's residents had been born in the British Isles.
Concentrated in the cities, they were less than half as likely to live in rural
areas as the population of Utah as a whole. Just over three-fourths of these
immigrants were born in England, about 11 percent in Scotland, 3 percent in
Ireland, 2 percent in Wales and 1 percent in
Northern Ireland.
But the heritage of the British Isles was more evident in the
fact that in the 1990 census 44 percent of Utahns claimed English ancestry, 8
percent Irish, 5 percent Scottish, and 3 percent Welsh.
from Utah History Encyclopedia
Immigration Records
(Ship Passenger Arrival Records)

Until January 1, 1820, the U.S. Federal Government did not require
require captains or masters of vessels to present a passenger list
to U.S. customs officials.
Thus, as a general rule, NARA does not have passenger lists
of vessels arriving
before January 1, 1820

NARA | Genealogy | Naturalization Records at NARA

Naturalization is the process by which an alien becomes an American citizen.
It is a voluntary act;
naturalization is not required. Of the foreign-born persons listed on the 1890 through
1930 censuses, 25 percent had not become naturalized or filed their
"first papers."

This article is adapted from Claire Prechtel-Kluskens, "The Location of Naturalization
Records," The Record, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 21-22 (Nov. 1996).

For more information about women in naturalization records,
see Marian L. Smith, "Women and Naturalization, ca. 1802-1940,
" Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives,
Vol. 30, No. 2 (Summer 1998): 146-153.

In 1903 a Justice Department investigator made even more condemnatory comments:
I find the naturalization records in many cases in a chaotic condition, many lost and destroyed, and some sold for old paper. Most the records consist of merely the name and nativity of the alien with no means of identifying aliens of the same name....In numerous cases I find aliens naturalized under initials instead of Christian names, surnames misspelled or changed entirely, and names of witnesses inserted in place of the alien naturalized....The examination of the records discloses the remarkable fact that never, since the first enactment of the naturalization laws, has any record been made in any court of the names of minor children who, under the operation of the statutes, were made citizens by the naturalization of their parents
NARA | Genealogy | Census Records  USA 

NARA | Genealogy | Genealogy Main Page USA

Genealogy News and Events look for updates

Upcoming Workshops in NARA Facilities:
- Indians and Slavery, Kansas City, MO, February 20
- Census Records Research, San Francisco, February 20
- Passenger Arrival Records, Washington, DC, February 21
- Finding Immigrant Ancestors, Pittsfield, February 23
- Immigration Records, Philadelphia, February 25
- Irish Genealogy, Washington, DC, February 28

The National Institute on Genealogical Research will be held at
the National Archives in Washington, D.C. from July 11–17, 2004. More. . .

Research Guidance v2.0: "Denmark BDM Events and Time Periods"

Research Guidance v2.0: "Select a State in the United States:
To trace your ancestor in the United States, you must know the state your ancestor was born,
christened, married or died. If you are not sure of the State,
click Determining the State where Your Ancestor Lived."

In DENMARK the parish, or sogn. is essential.

Research Guidance v2.0: "This outline introduces the principles, search strategies,
and various record types you can use to identify an immigrant ancestor's original hometown.
These principles can be applied to almost any country.
If you are just beginning your research, you may need additional information
about genealogical records and search strategies"
Roots in Denmark Register of emigrants After 1868 the Commissioner of the Copenhagen Police systematically registered any person, who emigrated, and the registers were kept in alphabetical order. There was a register for persons, who left directly from Copenhagen, and a register for those, who left "indirectly", i.e. from a German or an English harbour. Unfortunately some of the people who left "indirectly" were never registered. As to direct emigration, the registers end at 1940, and as to indirect emigration they end at 1935. There is no traversing register concerning the annual registration. If you do not know the exact year of emigration you will have to go through some of the years before and after in your search. This source will often be the key to further research, because it states the locality from which the emigrant left. You have access to the emigration lists via the film reading room of the Danish National Archives <<.
Genealogy is like police work,
you must use tested and tried procedures.

Research Guidance v2.0:
Step 1. Identify what you know about your family.
Step 2. Decide what you want to learn about your family.
Step 3. Select records to search .
Step 4. Obtain and search the record.
Step 5. Use the information.

from Introduction
Family history research involves 5 basic steps"

Research Guidance v2.0: "England BDM Events and Time Periods "

Research Guidance v2.0: "Wales BDM Events and Time Periods "

"Select a Province in Preußen, Germany:eg:-
Research Guidance v2.0: "Schleswig-Holstein, Prussia,
Germany BDM Events and Time Periods
1875-Present "

Are you stuck?

Ask here for help:-


About languages:

Learning Danish is possible at any age,
- if you set yourself realistic aims
300 words for genealogy
Danish Glossary
Glossary to the most frequent Danish words in the census and the marriage records

and tourist Danish will give you a lot of pleasure.
Start with the natural method - think like a child or better still a baby
listen to and copy sounds - then attach meanings.

Til dr.dk's forside
listen to Denmarks Radio on the web HØR RADIO
just click on HEAR - HØR
There are about 10 or 12 sounds not always used in english,
train your ear to spot glottal stops and the special vowels.

BBC or received pronounciation is prefered in Danish schools,
but educated Danes have two or three extra languages,
and for trade or tourism languages are essential.

About computers and DANISH programs:

Downloads here.- DIS-Danmark.
In Denmark Brother’s Keeper and WinFam are the favourites.
Anetavle is a nice littl Danish program. J***

I use Family Tree Maker 11,
Buy it in Danish here - Hugh

About books:

read books in Danish about slægtsforskning,

e. g. Politikens håndbog i slægtshistorie : find dine rødder
and a new edition of
Slægtsforskning på pc,
- 2. udgave - Ove Lauridsen
- J***
Forlaget Libris
ISBN: 87-7843-500-5
Maj 2002
120 sider
Kr. 79,00

NETTIPS - handy web pages.
Suggested by the archives - more downloads
Use a libary - Hans H. Worsøe is one of Denmarks best genealogists.
Search the national catalogue of all public libraries in Denmark
read on the net about slægtsforskning,

Google Web Directory > Katalogkategorier > World >
Dansk > Samfund > Slægtsforskning

There are many freebies, gratisdansk and a research guide in english - Hugh

GENUKI: Newbies' Guide to English Genealogy and Family History by Roy Stockdill

About quality:

5 good habits to REMEMBER:-



[Dannebrog] - forside på dansk

Site Map

Site Map 2

updated September 15 2005
Hugh Watkins

a big thank you to HPJ

photo - Dona Norgaard